COVID-19 EFFECTS

Juja village residents appeal for food

Are afraid hunger will kill them before coronavirus

In Summary

• Residents have, however, received over 500 face masks and some 20 handwashing units from JungleNut Foundation.

• Most of the villagers are casual workers in quarries in Ndarugu and a flower firm in the area that laid off all workers due to the pandemic. 

Some of the residents receive face masks from Jungle Foundation officials.
CUSHION: Some of the residents receive face masks from Jungle Foundation officials.
Image: JOHN KAMAU

Residents of Gachororo village, an informal settlement in Juja subcounty, have called on the Kiambu county government and well-wishers to rescue them from hunger.

The locals decried that effects of Covid-19 have taken a toll on them saying they lost their sources of livelihood and that now their families are grappling with starvation.

Most of the villagers are casual workers in quarries in Ndarugu and a flower firm in the area that laid off all workers due to the pandemic.

Residents who spoke to journalists on Saturday said basic necessities like food and water have become scarce and a mammoth task for most families to raise.

“If we will perish here it’s not because of coronavirus but hunger. We are going for days without food, only porridge which at times is even hard to get. Putting food on the table for my family has been difficult since I lost my job two months ago,” resident Hassan Busolo, who used to work at KBB Flower farm in Juja, told the Star.

Busolo noted that most firms halted operations rendering most residents jobless. “We were able to sustain our families because of the companies that hired us. Now we are penniless and cannot even get the basic provisions for our families,” he said.

Resident Nelly Akoth, a mother of five and a fishmonger in the village, said she has abandoned her trade due to low customers’ turnout.

“I’d get less than five customers who would buy the fish or omena in cash. Most of the residents had no money on them and I had to give them the fish for free. I had to shut down my business,” she said.

The residents called on the county government to distribute relief food to cushion them from possible starvation.

“We’ve heard reports that the county government has received numerous donations in terms of money and foodstuff. We don’t want the money but the food for us and our children,” Linus Munyonge said.

Munyonge also said they are in fear of contracting and spreading the virus due to lack of basic protective items like face masks and handwashing units.

A spot check revealed that they barely observe the ministry’s guidelines including wearing face masks, washing hands, sanitising and observing social distance in the fight against the virus.

The county on Friday launched the Covid-19 Response Fund which targets to raise Sh2 billion to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic.

The fund led by ex-Cabinet minister George Muhoho has already received Sh130 million and is looking forward to distributing food to about 27,000 vulnerable people across the county.

Residents have, however, received over 500 face masks and some 20 handwashing units from JungleNut Foundation.

Foundation representative Eliud Macharia said the donation is part of Sh5 million the foundation is distributing to vulnerable people across Kiambu.

“We know most families are going through tough times due to the pandemic. We have helped where we can with the protective gears to protect people from contracting and spreading the virus. We plead with other people of goodwill to bring these people food because hunger is real in this village,” Macharia said.

Edited by R.Wamochie